Rogers Park

Set in the title neighborhood, this indie drama covers a year in the lives of four middle-aged characters: a failed writer, who earns his living at a public library; his girlfriend, who works for an alderman; his sister, who runs a preschool; and the sister’s husband, who sells real estate. Both couples are interracial, though director Kyle Henry and screenwriter Carlos Treviño wisely overlook this concern, focusing instead on the characters’ bottled-up professional and interpersonal frustrations. The sympathetic performances, understated direction, and thematic emphasis on lower-middle-class unhappiness all reminded me of British filmmaker Mike Leigh, and like him, Henry and Treviño know how to develop narrative momentum through a steady stream of subtle psychological revelation.